Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


With rising enrollments in online courses, institutions must decide how they will respond. Institutions offering online courses through distance programs are moving those courses into the mainstream, increasing the demand for courses and instructors. Faculty must choose how they will be involved. Institutions will be challenged to find ways to encourage faculty to be involved.

This qualitative study examined perceptions of faculty and administrators to discover how well those perceptions matched. Participants were interviewed at two institutions, using a grounded theory approach.

Faculty and administrators’ perceptions differed about their institution’s initial motive for offering online courses. Administrators claimed online courses were a part of their institutional mission and a way to extend resources to distance education students. Faculty believed online courses originated because of the potential for profit.

Faculty and administrators agreed shared ownership of online courses was a reasonable alternative, but few participants had knowledge of the existence or the specifics of their institution’s intellectual property agreement. Quality standards were also a concern. Faculty and administrators were divided over who would devise the standards, who would monitor them, and how information about quality standards would be used. In terms of compensation, release time emerged as preferable to a stipend, but neither option was offered to faculty unless they were willing to design the course as “work for hire” and then release control. Participants believed revising the definition of scholarship might encourage more faculty to consider designing and teaching online courses if the efforts would apply towards tenure and promotion. An unanticipated finding was that faculty had altered the way they taught in their traditional classrooms after their experience designing and teaching online. Faculty and administrators acknowledged they had heard a number of other faculty make similar comments.

I offered a series of recommendations for participants to consider at their institution, most importantly that they attempt to convince senior administrators of the need to engage in a long term visioning process to determine how the institution saw its role in online education. All participants said this had not been done prior to their institution’s entry into online education.